Cap & Trade Numbers 

Posted: 10:07 pm Thursday, December 17th, 2009

By Jamie Dupree

As the Climate Change conference wraps up in Copenhagen, some new numbers are out on plans from Democrats in the Congress on a Cap and Trade bill from the Congressional Budget Office.  They give both sides plenty to chew on.

The basic numbers are that the Senate version of the bill would raise $854 billion in revenues, while it would increase direct government spending by about $833 billion.

“Those changes in revenues and direct spending would mainly stem from the process of auctioning and freely distributing allowances under the cap-and-trade programs established under this legislation,” the CBO review states.
 
That lets Democrats claim that the bill won’t add to the federal deficit, and instead will reduce the deficit by $21 billion over the 2010-2019 time frame.

“The CBO score shows that there is a way to design a clean energy and climate bill that is fiscally responsible and gets the job done – while protecting the health of our families and the planet,” said Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), the chief sponsor of S. 1733.

If you want to read the 31 page review of the Senate bill, you can download it at http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/108xx/doc10864/s1733.pdf .

One interesting item is found on page 16, where the report says that the pollution allowances in this bill would bring in $984 billion between 2010 and 2019.

But the figure I first cited was that the bill would raise $854 billion in revenue.  Why the $140 billion discrepancy?

That’s because the CBO determined that the cost of purchasing the allowances “would become an additional business expense for companies” that have to deal with a pollution emissions cap.

“Those additional expenses would result in a decrease in taxable income, resulting in a loss of government revenue from income and payroll taxes,” the report says.

On page 25, the report says all of the requirements under this program would increase paperwork costs for private businesses by a total of about $30 million per year.

As for Senate consideration of climate change legislation, I still don’t see much chance that such a plan could get through the Senate in 2010.

The combination of a very cramped schedule and election year politics seem likely to doom the bill, no matter the demands from more liberal Democrats.

It might get a day or two of debate at some point, and then fail to get 60 votes to even start the debate.

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